The oldest boat competing in this year's Race is almost certain to be Thalia (Sail #11). Built in 1888, she was one of the last yachts by George Wanhill of Poole who was boatbuilding from the 1850s onwards.
In the 1890s Thalia was raced from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, returning to the south coast of England in 1918. After a more recent stint in the Caribbean, she was bought by David Aisher in 2010, and returned to England for a refit at the Elephant Boatyard in Hamble where a new mast was fitted with new standing and running rigging and sails. She was also re ballasted, rewired and replumbed.
David's Thalia won't easily be mistaken for another Thalia racing again this year; a Hanse 385 built in 2012. She is owned by Andrew Banks and there are five members of the family on board ranging from his 91 year-old father Ken down to his two sons aged 21 and 19.
A veritable powerhouse of racing experience and RTI know-how is the seemingly invincible Jock Wishart who describes himself as "Adventurer/America's Cup/Past Holder Round the World Powered Record/Rowed to North Pole/Winner Queens Cup Thames A- Raters". His 2015 JPK 10.80 boat Shaitan is entered for the Commodores Cup as part of the Celtic Team as well as for this year's RTI.
Jock has recruited some serious sailing talent including Thomas Lundquist as Helmsman, a Finn Gold Cup Winner & Olympic Gold Medallist, plus Julian Smith, co-Helm and the 2014 National Finn Champion; Andy Sinclair, Trimmer and Red Bull Youth America's Cup helmsman; Jamie Joel, rigger, instructor etcetera and then these three musketeers, Ruaridh Wright, Peter Cameron and Angus Grey Stephens, all three of whom are Scottish Student Sailing Champions.
Girls for Sail have entered two boats this year with all-female crews, many of whom have never raced before - and in some cases, have never even sailed before. Hot Stuff, a Beneteau 40.7 and Diamonds are Forever, an Elan 37 are competing. Celebrating their 16th Round the Island Race this year and with two all-female boat crews entered, Girls for Sail are hoping to encourage even more women to get involved with this wonderful Race.
Their youngest crew member is 18 and they will be joined by ladies of all ages and levels of experience. The most recent apprentice, Georgi, is training towards her RYA Yachtmaster Offshore ahead of starting a career in the sailing industry.